With today's burgeoning technologies, big data mining, savvy connected consumers and overwhelming use of social media, a firm grasp of competitive pricing and assortment analytics and technology is critical to retailers to maintaining a competitive edge. Retailers, more than ever, must use a retail intelligence suite to optimize pricing opportunities that depend on accurate, timely, frequently updated information, not on using more simple procedures like web scraping that can do retailers much more harm than good.
Simple web scraping uses an automated tool, usually a bot, to crawl websites and comparison search engines to pull out certain strings of text. But, like scraping your fingers through the sand and giving the client what sticks under your fingernails, it's a very low-end solution.
The biggest problem of simple scraping is accuracy in matching. The raw data, by its nature, is incomplete, noisy, and unreliable, so you need to use tools specially developed to meet these specific challenges. If you don't, you end up with data that is faulty from the get-go. Because price scraping lacks matching sophistication, retailers will not only have faulty data, but miss many products that could be matched if the tool had the capability to do so.
An advanced Pricing Intelligence Solution on the other hand, understands and works with the structure of each competitor's website (which vary dramatically from one to another), is designed to collect specifically needed data from the myriad data available; and that data is accurate, easy to match, and on which retailers can confidently base important pricing and assortment decisions.
How The Ideal Pricing Intelligence Solution Works:
1. Collects data directly from your competitors' websites.
2. Collects thousands and thousands of pieces of information that you need to make perfect matches with your products.
3. Collects pricing and availability information from the shopping cart and other website locations as needed.
4. Keeps product information refreshed, updated and timely.
5. Handles product variations with dexterity. A product may have several variants, such as size, color or prices, and the sophisticated intelligence solution will discern and match these characteristics.
How The Ideal Pricing Intelligence Solution Is Built:
1. Custom Built Crawlers. Built to be very efficient, go directly to competitor websites and get the product pages; scan millions and millions of products every day.
2. Sophisticated Data Extractors. Cope with any website, no matter how complex; create a custom-made map of the client's data; and go after the specific product information.
3. Powerful Matching Engine:
* Is built to overcome complications such as not having identical product match, but able to make the match nevertheless.
* Uses a combination of advanced algorithms and semantic analysis, plus data mining techniques, to reach very high levels of accuracy and coverage.
* Continually refreshes the data before applying the analytics.
4. Advanced Analytics Engine: Applies the analytics and then gets out the results to the clients.
Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line:
As retailers look for ways to compete more effectively, they must look beyond simple, inexpensive solutions, because these kinds of tools can do more harm than good.
Advanced price intelligence solutions provide accuracy, analytics & action missing in simple web scraping. Upstream Commerce's advanced Pricing Intelligence Solutions utilize complex algorithms that were two decades in development, by engineers who know what's needed, and how to get the most actionable data at the highest levels of accuracy so that retailers can perform at the highest level of effectiveness in today's dynamic marketplace. Click to sign up for a product demo